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Smarter Impact: A new approach to enabling inclusive economic development in the information age

By Phil Westcott, Smarter Impact Leader, IBM UK & Ireland

Smarter Impact:
Inclusive development
in the information age

We are living in exciting times. Information and communications technology has already radically changed the world in which we live in for the better. The lives of billions have been transformed – those that were once isolated or living in remote locations are now connected in a way that offers a wealth of opportunities. The planet is now awash with data, each sector striving to harness that data into meaningful information to measure the progress against their objectives.

We believe there is an opportunity here… because the goal of sustained and inclusive economic development in the emerging world should be the shared objective of the governments, international aid organizations and multinationals. Those familiar with the blogs and philosophy discussed in the Business Fights Poverty network will appreciate the real power when business cases can be aligned with development objectives.

IBM recognize that there is a clear opportunity for greater collaboration. Leaders in the developing world are looking to promote vibrant economies, ensuring any gain from their natural resources drive benefit for all their citizens through long-term sustainable growth and capacity building. Multinationals are looking for stronger relationships and sustainable presence in these new markets. The development sector is looking to catalyze inclusive development, leveraging its spending with ever more attention for Value for Money and maximizing impact.

Our proposition is that data (and the collaborative use of that data) holds the key to this vision. The challenge we have is to harness, consolidate and make sense of that data to give leaders from all sectors the timely indicators as they strive for inclusive economic growth. Indicators that will help leaders blend development investment, government interventions and new business opportunities.

An initial area to focus attention is impact measurement and the need to provide intelligent and timely insight into development outcomes through the innovative use of new and existing data sources.

Next week, the 19th September, we will host a conference in London entitled Smarter Impact – A new approach to enabling inclusive economic development in the information age. We are formulating a vision that we will present at the event, prompting the debate from our stellar line-ups of thought-leader speakers and delegates from across the sectors. We hope to spark new conversations that galvanize this vision into concrete actions and new partnerships. There are limited spaces available, but please register here if you are able to join us at the IBM Forum on the London South Bank.

For those who cannot join in the debate in person, we will open the debate through social media channels and postings on this site. We welcome any comments at this stage, and look forward to your contributions.

Editor’s Note:

Business Fights Poverty is an event partner.

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